If you’re a nerd, you’ve probably heard this at some point, when discussing your hobbies, likely from a total stranger or somebody you didn’t particularly like in high school: “Oh, God, why don’t you grow up?”
We all know these would-be buzzkills. These are people who define adulthood not as the assumption of responsibility both personal and professional, but as a rigidly defined checklist of things to do and not do. These are the people who go on the Oscar Death March, seeing every single Oscar nominated movie no matter how terrible it looks. These are the people who throw dinner parties and only invite the single people they know if there’s somebody else single they want to pair you off with. These are the people on Facebook who immediately change their profile picture to the child they just had.
And now, apparently, they’ve stopped picking on nerds and starting picking on women who listen to pop music.
This essay by Deborah Schoeneman, partially reprinted on Jezebel, starts off with this gem:
She’s a counterpart to the “man-child” stars of Judd Apatow movies; she would rather rally girlfriends to see The Hunger Games than the more peer-group-appropriate What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
Every nerd, male or female, probably felt their eyes roll into the back of their head when they read that line. The writer, by the way, is notable for her work on Girls and the reboot of 90210. Here’s her bio. Note the photo!
The excerpt goes on to whine at length about relatively unnerdy topics like Nicki Minaj and nail art, but I’m sure Schoeneman would be happy to trash Doctor Who‘s enormous female fan base or get upset that Gail Simone writes about superheroines instead of about modern day female struggles. I’ve read dozens of articles exactly like this over the years, generally from a well-meaning psychologist about how video games retard my ability to talk to people, or from a “serious” film critic about how comic book adaptations are the sudden and immediate intellectual bankruptcy of all filmmaking.
Because articles like this aren’t really about pop culture trends, they’re about how much more mature and intelligent the author is than you. Seriously, read that excerpt and then take a gander at, say, this clip from the Today Show. You might notice a few similar themes. Frederick Wertham offered similar objections about comic books back in the 1950s. Hell, if you pay attention to Jack Thompson, he’s argued something like this. It’s a well worn cultural theme: I do not understand this thing and therefore do not like it; you like this thing; therefore you are lesser than I.
But why have they stopped picking on nerds and started picking on women? I think it reflects a larger cultural shift. It’s no longer OK to look down on nerds. Everybody went to go see The Avengers. Video games are making more and more money and more and more people have never lived in a world without them. Star Trek has become a safe blockbuster franchise.
So in order to get your “I’m an adult you’re not nyah nyah n nyah nyah” jollies, these people jumped straight to… uh… women having more fun than they are.
I think Farnsworth aptly sums this one up:
I want more like this!
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